Six Ways to Donate Blood Like a Pro

With the success of our most recent blood drive on January 25th, 2019, we decided to put together a quick guide in the world of blood donation.

We were lucky enough to have 19 presenting donors (a.k.a people who showed up to donate), 2 deferrals (people whose blood was not accepted), and one QNS (quantity not sufficient; in other words the sample was too small).

Now, if you are new to donating blood or the thought itself makes you a little uneasy (or downright queasy), take a look at our list of tips to ensure a positive experience:

  1. In the days leading up to your donation, eat iron-rich foods (spinach, beans, and lentils for the veggie-eaters out there; meat/fish for the carnivores). Low iron levels could lead to deferral. How much would it stink if you psych yourself up to donate and once you get there they slap you with a LOW-IRON diagnostic? The answer is—a ton. So, preparation is key here.
  2. Try to get a good night’s sleep. The act of removing blood adds stress to the body and the less stressed, more refreshed you are going into donation, the better off you’ll be. Heck, why don’t you do a little yoga or meditate while you’re at it? Namaste.
  3. Eat a balanced meal at least three hours before your blood is drawn. Avoid junk food and fast food. Those Cheetos and McHamburgers will have to wait—or better yet, throw those directly in the trash.
  4. Drink so much water. Dehydration and low iron levels are the most common reasons for deferral. A lot of the body’s problems can be solved by drinking water and donating blood is no different. Got a head ache? Drink some water. Bad skin? Drink some water. Stressed out? Take a bath. See, it works in all areas.
  5. Have a list of any current medications you are taking and any locations you have visited internationally over the past 3 years. This information will make the process go much faster/smoother and help expedite the process. The people behind you in line will thank you.
  6. If you’re feeling light headed after you give blood, make sure you eat a snack and drink water. There is also no shame in staying vertical until you’re certain the drowsiness has passed. Think of that feeling when you stand up too fast and multiply it by three. That’s the kind of light-headed we are talking about. Take deep breaths, chomp down on a snack, and sip some H20 and you’ll be good to go.

From the 16 collected units, the blood from our donation could save up to 48 lives! Even if you’re not good at math, the number of lives saved versus people who had to donate is about three to one. That’s pretty amazing! Just think about the difference you’re making with only a sliver of your day disrupted.

Interested in a blood drive near you? The Red Cross keeps a running list of drives/donation centers. Or be on the lookout for Salus Medical’s next blood drive event!